SALINA, KAN. – A ferocious comeback in regulation forced overtime on Thursday morning, but Wallace State's women's basketball team ran out of gas in the extra period, losing to Cloud County (Kan.) Community College 88-77 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I national championship at the Bicentennial Center.
Wallace State overcame an 18-point deficit late in the first half and battled back from a 10-point deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining and a seven-point deficit with 2:26 left in regulation to eventually force overtime.
Zadous Pollard poured in 10 of her 15 points off the bench during the final 10 minutes of regulation, and Tacouya Allen's bucket with 19.6 seconds remaining in the second half tied the game at 73-73.
Wallace State ran out of firepower in overtime, closing its season at 21-9.
"This bunch has fought back all year long. They've done a great job; they really have. They have fought through a lot of adversity," said Wallace State coach Larry Slater, who led the program to its third NJCAA national tournament. "It shows what type of people they are by coming back and tying up this ballgame. We gave ourselves a chance to win."
Sophomore Bailee Robinson finished with 16 points, six steals and five rebounds in her final game in a Wallace State uniform. Fellow sophomore Morgan Duncan contributed 16 points, Pollard scored all 15 of her points in the second half, Kendra Jones had 11 points and five rebounds and Natalie Kelley added eight points and 12 rebounds.
For Cloud County, Satavia Taylor led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds. She shot 9-for-11 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Four different Lady Thunderbirds also finished in double figures, including Macy Parker's 15 points.
Cloud County (26-8) shot 19-for-34 (55.9 percent) from the field in the first half to help sustain its 47-32 halftime lead.
Wallace State's women made its first NJCAA tournament since the 2002-03 season after winning the program's sixth Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Region 22 championship on March 2.
It was the final game at Wallace State for Robinson, Kelley, Duncan, Pollard, Lauren Grisham and Sheena Nation.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.